How to Open docx Files without Word

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There’s more than one way to open those Microsoft Word docx files!

Use these instructions if you want to open docx files but do NOT have Word 2007, 2010, or 2013 installed.

For general background information about opening docx files including troubleshooting tips, see How to Open docx files.

Opening docx files without Word 2007, 2010, or 2013

Click the statement that best describes your software set up. The link takes you to a short tutorial:

Opening docx files with a previous version of Word

If you own a previous version of Word (2000, 2002, or 2003), you can open documents with the .docx file extension. But to do it, you need to install the Microsoft Office 2007 Compatibility Pack.

After downloading the pack, not only can you open and edit Word 2007/2010/2013 docx files, but also Excel (.xlsx) and PowerPoint (.pptx) files.

YOU WILL NOT be able to edit all features in a docx file using a previous version of Word. The Compatibility Pack is essentially a workaround. If you need to edit and save everything in a docx file, you have to buy Microsoft Word.

If your version of Word is older than 2000, you will not be able to open and edit Word 2007/2010/2013 documents using the Compatibility Pack. But you can install the Word viewer and open and print documents. See the section, Open a docx file without Word.

The download link takes you to the Microsoft website where you can install the Compatibility Pack. Follow the directions carefully! Do not skip the steps for installing High-Priority updates. Skipping the updates may result in error messages and the inability to open docx files.

If you already installed the Compatibility Pack without downloading the updates, uninstall it and start over.

The download includes the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack version 4:

Download the Compatibility Pack

Opening docx files without Word

If you don’t have Word installed, or your version of Word is older than 2000, you can still open and print a docx file using the Word viewer in addition to the Compatibility Pack.

You must have both the Microsoft Word reader and the compatibility pack installed to open docx files.

The download links take you to the Microsoft website where you can install the Word viewer and the Compatibility Pack. Follow the directions carefully! Do not skip the steps for installing High-Priority updates. Skipping the updates may result in error messages and the inability to open Word 2007/2010/2013 files.

Download and install the Word viewer first, then the Compatibility Pack.

If you already installed the Compatibility Pack without downloading the Word viewer or the updates, uninstall it and start over.

The download includes the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack version 4, which includes bug fixes and security updates for the Compatibility Pack.

  1. Download the Word Viewer
  2. Download the Compatibility Pack

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